This October (7-9) I will be a panelist at the The Precarious Alliance: Strengthening Human Networks and Natural Systems Symposium at Delaware Valley College in Pennsylvania.
Marion Nestle will be the keynote speaker-I am also presenting a paper on food waste in NYC and urban environments.
Save the date- more details to come!
Last week, the New York Times published an article about fast food diets– the Subway diet made famous by “Jared” and now the Taco Bell diet (indigestion anyone?) being promoted by a Biggest Loser contestant. The article is fairly objective, offering reasons why a fast-food diet might be flawed and recounting success stories from people who lost weight at the drive-thru. However, there are no long-term losers, and the author doesn’t bring up the fact that the low-calorie, low-nutrient diets are unlikely to satisfy dieters. Here is the letter I wrote to the editor in response.
I interviewed a hotel clerk in Florence and asked him what his favorite foods were. He said that he loved pasta and pizza. When I asked him what his favorite non-Italian dish was he said goulash. I was very excited to find his tastes were so diverse! I asked him where he got goulash and he replied that he had tried it in Hungary. There was nowhere in Florence to eat goulash. It was very simple for him; he ate Italian food at home and when he travelled, he would sample the foreign cuisine.
Kebab restaurant in downtown Florence
Welcome to the second week of Homemade Month. Thanks to those of you who have been reading along.
Now that you have read about some of the issues on my mind, I want to know what is on your mind. I have some expertise in recipe creation, agriculture, and food policy. Do you have questions? Input?
Please comment here and let me know what you would like to see next, here at Homemade Month.
The authors of The Flat Belly Diet claim that by eating monounsaturated fat (MUFAs) at every meal and eating a reduced calorie diet, participants can lose weight and in particular, belly fat, at a high rate and without exercise. Liz Vaccariello, the editor of Prevention magazine, and Cynthia Sass, a nutritionist and MPH authored the book and ascribe many beneficial properties to MUFAs. While the diet is low is calories and likely to help people who follow it lose weight, the claims in the book are misleading and some of the advice is downright dangerous.
Growing up poor in Philadelphia, I know firsthand the stigma of paying with food stamps at the grocery store. When my mother sent me out with the flimsy booklets to pick up milk or bread I would invariably run into a classmate and stall, unconvincingly, until the left they store and I could pay for my items furtively. I would rather go hungry than pay for food with food stamps in front of my friends. Last week the New York Times reported that in the midst of this recession, fully one-eighth of American adults and one fourth of American children are enrolled in the SNAP (formerly food stamps) government entitlement program. However, as a student of food, I now know that so much food is produced worldwide that there is no reason for the poor to be stigmatized or to go hungry.
Boarding school. For many, the phrase conjures up images of plaid ties and skirts, strict matrons and snooty kids in navy blazers riding horses. The Milton Hershey School in Central Pennsylvania is much less red brick and ivy than corn fields, dairy cows, and waking before dawn for chores.
For four years, I lived in a ranch house with eleven other girls who went to my high school and a set of house-parents. Every morning we all rose at 6:00am to do chores and get ready for school. One chore, cooking, was especially despised for all the time it required, especially those precious pre-6:00am minutes we would rather spend in bed.
Every twelve weeks or so it was my turn to cook. We had hot breakfast (as opposed to cereal) twice a week, and when I got to choose what we were eating, that meant chocolate chip pancakes. I remember my roommate grumbling as my alarm sounded at 5:30am and I struggled from bed and into the kitchen, still in slippers and sweat pants. Maybe I was bitter that she would be able to sleep for another half an hour before munching on the pancakes I would slave over. No matter.
The house was entirely quiet. I turned on only a few of the lights and enjoyed the quiet dimness of the kitchen as I slid around the linoleum collecting a bowl, flour and the portable griddle. The kitchen had several windows that faced the garage, and I could see a tinge of pink on the purple edge of night rising into the sky. It would be light soon.